Spotlight on Michael Smith

I am chief officer at Bolton GP Federation and have worked in almost every part of the NHS.

27 October 2022

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I am currently chief officer at Bolton GP Federation. I have worked in almost every part of the NHS, as a commissioner, in hospitals and in mental health, before returning to primary care.

I came to Bolton as ‘devolution’ started in Greater Manchester and it has been a fascinating journey to ICS over that period.

One of the most rewarding elements of the journey has been the range of collaborations and partnerships we have developed. One of the most rewarding is one of the newest. As managing director for our GM-wide federation provider collaborative, we are now working together as federations to deliver across a population of over 3 million, which is a very different perspective and is generating some fascinating insights into how you focus down on subsidiarity and getting the right resource in the right place while retaining the flexibility and can do nature of primary care

When did you join the NHS Confederation and why?

I joined the Confed in early 2022.  Having worked across the NHS previously, I was aware of the respect the Confederation commanded within the NHS and equally, with its key stakeholders.

I was (and am) excited by the possibilities and opportunities primary care could have to build out from this platform. Equally, the opportunity to work with a diverse range of passionate and successful primary care colleagues from across the country, brought together under an NHS Confederation primary care banner was too powerful an opportunity to miss.

The NHS Confederation has an enviable reputation and credibility as one of the highly regarded big three not-for-profit ‘think tanks’. It also has a track record as the reasoned, practical and incredibly well informed voice of the NHS. The obvious opportunity then was to join the Confed to demonstrate the positive and progressive modern face of primary care.

What excites you the most about the direction of the NHS Confederation, and how will you contribute towards it?

Bringing together so many inspirational primary care leaders and the impact we have already made is a great achievement. The possibilities of the connections across the Confed, with ICB and community colleagues are even more exciting.

I’d like to think our experiences in GM might provide a source of solutions and/or encouragement for others – the more we share how we shaped solutions to the challenges many of us share, the more we can demonstrate collectively how powerful collaborative working is, the more we can continue the key work supporting primary care at all levels, practice, neighbourhood and place.

What does it mean to you to be vice-chair of the Primary Care Network Advisory Group? And what are your hopes and aspirations for the network?

It is a rare honour to be elected by such a respected group of peers and primary care leaders. I hope this reflects what we will achieve in the network through demonstrating how each of the strands of primary care can work together to support and strengthen primary care to continue to deliver.

Equally, how by combining our collective wisdom, our practical solutions to some of our biggest challenges, we can offer options and paths for how the future of primary care can work. In a modern world, in a rapidly changing environment in support of the practice-based model.

What is something members of the network, staff and even other Advisory Board members might be surprised to know about you?

I suspect most won’t know that I have a lifelong affinity with American Football – I played for 25 years and am even in the Hall of Fame for the Manchester Titans!